Africana Women's Studies

About the Africana Women's Studies Program

The Program of Africana Women’s Studies (AWS), in the Department of History, Philosophy, Religion, and Interdisciplinary Studies, coordinates development of curricula, focusing on the study of women of the African Diaspora. The Program sponsors colloquia, seminars, curricula, and an annual summit featuring renowned scholars in the field.

Africana Women’s Studies is an academic program inaugurated at Bennett College for Women, spring 2004, under the auspices of its first director, Dr. Irma McClaurin. AWS is housed within the Division of the Humanities in the Department of History, Philosophy, Religion and Interdisciplinary Studies and enjoys support from the Ford Foundation.

We focus on the experiences, socio-cultural conditions, and histories of women in the African Diaspora as well as issues generally important in the field of women’s studies. Students acquire research skills informed by feminist and Africana/Black feminist methodologies; develop critical reading and writing skills through learning communities; and through service learning apply what they have learned. We presently offer the women’s studies track through our Interdisciplinary Studies major and future plans include offering a certificate, minor, and major in Africana Women’s Studies.

In addition, AWS provides research opportunities (e.g. Oral History Training Project with North Carolina Curator of Cultural History Michelle Lanier); service learning opportunities; S.T.A.R.S. (Sisters Talking About Real Situations) - Mentoring program with Middle College students and Bennett Belles; “The Artist as a Social Messenger Project" - a collaboration between AWS, artist and art teacher Lynda Edwards, and Middle College Students; 'Zines Project - student publications on issues in women's studies; "Fireside Chats" - evening programs about Women's Studies/Gender Studies issues rotated between various dorms on campus; and collaborative opportunities through our relationships with various women’s/gender studies departments and programs nationally and internationally. We belong to both the regional and national women’s studies associations, Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, and support faculty and staff development in the area of feminist scholarship and activity.

AWS programming is also for the community. We participate in various diversity initiatives at Bennett College for Women including – “Power Girls” the summer diversity institute for 14-18 year old women sponsored by the Johnnetta B. Cole Global Diversity and Inclusion Institute. There is the AWS Occasional Lecture Series, workshops, and our Capstone Activity, the Africana Women’s Studies/Womanist Religious Studies Annual Summit. Our themes have been: “Let’s Talk About Sex” for our second year; “Clothed and in Our Right Minds: Black Women, Mental Health, and Faith” for the third year; for our fourth annual summit in spring 2007: “Unfamiliar Temples: Im/migration, Women and Religion;” and for the fifth annual summit in spring 2008: “Zora and Beyond: Doin’ the Real.”

700 Gorrell St.
Bennett College for Women
Greensboro, North Carolina

Mailing Address

Box 4, 900 E. Washington St.
Bennett College for Women
Greensboro, NC 27401

(336) 517-2259 or 517-2262 (office)
(336) 517-2261 or 517-1500 (Fax)